Ready To Feel What It’s Like To Win?
“I never win anything.” Sound familiar? Some people get the thought of being a born loser stuck in their heads. Constantly confirming they never win anything, often making a joke of it but inwardly crying.
It’s no wonder that these people don’t ever win, if you think you’re a loser, your brain will start to believe you’re a loser. And science has proven that a downtrodden outlook doesn’t bode well if you want to be a winner.
Positive Thinking Has Been Proven To Boost Winning Potential
Don’t you think winners have such a positive, can-do attitude? Think about famous winning figures such as Usain Bolt, Barack Obama, Tony Robbins and Richard Branson – they ooze positivity. They enter a room and radiate an infectious energy and will usually say ‘yes!’ to trying something new or fun. Just look at Branson, casually flying a hot air balloon across the Atlantic.
How do these sorts of people become that way? Are people born this way or do they evolve? There’s a lot to be said for positive thinking and its benefits on the brain and a person’s outlook on life.
KidoLopez and Fuxjagerb’s study, Self-deception’s adaptive value: Effects of positive thinking and the Winner Effect, found that you can deceive your own negative thoughts with positive ones and trick your mind into thinking you’re a born winner. This can even make you fitter too.
“There is good reason to think that self-deception is an adaptation by arguing: (1) self-deception leads to a positive self-perception and (2) a positive self-perception increases an individual’s fitness.” They concluded that “self-deception indeed has adaptive value.”
They explore the Winner Effect which “is a term used in biology to describe how an animal that has won a few fights against weak opponents is much more likely to win later bouts against stronger contenders.” By training yourself mentally and physically, you can deceive your brain into thinking you can win anything.
Start with smaller things such as thinking you can walk a mile, to bigger things like running 5 miles. Or going for and getting a job you initially thought was out of your reach.
How To Think This Way
- Actively change your thinking patterns. If you usually tackle the easy Sudoku at the back of the Guardian, choose the hard option instead and quash any inner negative demons that try to persuade you that you won’t be able to do it, by doing it.
- Set mini challenges to conquer each day, for a month. These could include approaching someone in the office who you think is intimidating; cooking an extravagant meal which you’d usually shy away from. Picking up some heavier weights or running faster. Or message and meet up with that person you’ve wanted to talk to for a long time.
- Say yes to most things. Try it. If someone asks you to an art class, say yes. If someone offers a home swap for a week, say yes and go for it.
- Each morning create a ritual, whereby you tell yourself over and over again for 3 minutes that you can do anything. Do it whilst making a brew or sitting on the loo.
By doing these small and achievable things, you’ll slowly change your negative outlook and closed mindset for the better. And the Winner Effect will come into play as you’ll be conquering these smaller ‘fights’ and getting yourself prepared to win bigger and better ‘fights’ when the time comes.
Build Up Tolerance And Resistance
There’s nothing wrong with being sensitive. In fact sensitivity and vulnerability have been described by author Brene Brown as “truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never a weakness… Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity.” So keep that vulnerability.
The point here is to build up a tolerance and resistance to life’s crueler moments. Refuse to take life on the chin and instead learn to shrug things off.
Winners tend to have an enviable resilience to life’s sticky situations, difficult people and what we deem to be ‘unfair’ handouts. They’re so focused on their own winning abilities and inner confidence, that they know they’ll get through anything negative.
This can be seen in the natural world too, such as in Wiegmann and Waller’s study on “winner” and “loser” plant species in forests. They found that “winner” species of plants resisted and tolerated deer herbivory and went on to survive, yet “loser” species were too sensitive to the deer and ended up dying or depleting rapidly.
Although we aren’t plants or deer, it’s amazing to see that the plants that withstood deer would feel the benefits of the Winner Effect and went on to thrive, even when bigger threats came along in the forest, thanks to a built-up resilience and tolerance. Whereas those that couldn’t cope just perished.
How To Become More Resistant
- Ask for feedback from colleagues, a manager, your partner and/or family members on you as an individual. Or choose an area of focus such as stress levels, work quality or relationship quality. They’ll be some home truths which may be hard to swallow, but if you do this each month your resistance to feedback will grow.
- If you get offended or upset by someone’s comments, go away and work on the reasons why. Is it something you don’t like about yourself already? If so, hypnosis and/or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are a great way to address these thoughts and feelings.
- Replace any negative thoughts with a positive thought or action straight away. If someone doesn’t like your work, remind yourself that everyone is allowed an opinion and use these comments to grow your own skillset.
One Trait We May Not Be Able To Train Ourselves To Have
Studies have shown that winners can have certain looks, especially in politics.
A 2010 study by Berggren et al., looked at electoral success and the role of perceived beauty. They used photos of candidates that figured prominently in electoral campaigns.
“Our investigation is based on visual assessments of 1929 Finnish political candidates from 10,011 respondents. As Finland has a proportional electoral system, we are able to compare the electoral success of non-incumbent candidates representing the same party.
An increase in our measure of beauty by one standard deviation is associated with an increase of 20% in the number of votes for the average non-incumbent parliamentary candidate. The relationship is unaffected by including education and occupation as control variables and withstands several other robustness checks.”
There are many other studies that have come to the same conclusion. A study by Little et al., found that “facial appearance has important effects on the choice of leader… Differences in facial shape alone between candidates can predict who wins or loses in an election and that changing context from wartime to peacetime can affect which face receives the most votes.”
Voice Pitch And Tone
Another trait that helps make someone a winner is their voice. Numerous studies have shown that your voice has a lot to do with trust and deemed success.
A 2012 study by Klofstad et al., found that “voice pitch influences perception of leadership capacity in both men and women.”
Their studies “demonstrated that humans prefer leaders with lower-pitched voices, whether they are male or female. Consequently, male and female candidates with lower-pitched voices may be more likely to win elected offices… Higher-pitched female voices are judged to be weaker, less competent and less trustworthy, the characteristics of this vocal signal could help explain why women are less likely to hold leadership roles than men.”
Changing the way you look or speak is extreme. However, there are a few takeaway points here:
- Be assertive when you speak. And speak loudly and clearly.
- Work on your body’s positioning if you’re talking to someone or a group of people, as you can create a confident exterior in this way.
The only way to become a winner is to believe that you can win. Our brain, thought patterns, feelings and actions can all be impacted by just one negative thought, so make sure these thoughts don’t happen. Override negativity with a positive outlook using our list of tips and tricks that winners naturally do. You’ll be winning at life in no time.
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